Wikipedia 15/Workshops

These are the notes from early discussion of Wikipedia's anniversary in 2016.

Discussion commonalities

This is a synthesis of the most common thoughts from every WP15 discussion
  • Wikipedia appreciation, explaining and celebrating what is awesome
  • Sharing, and engaging with memes -- a hashtag, lists
  • Collecting videos or audio from around the world
  • Collecting stats and research for Wikimedia organizations to use, and support them with media advice
  • Creating a general model that would be useful for everyone, from WMF, to Chapters and Groups, to the media
  • Interest in comparing the existence of Wikipedia with human life, what has changed and what will change
  • Appreciative inquiry, ground your campaign in the positive

Wikimania notes


Wikipedia 15 workshops held at Wikimania


Workshop 1 (Comcom)

  • #myfirstedit
  • My wiki birthday
  • 15 big ideas
  • 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90 year olds -- people with different relationships to Wikipedia
Wikimania ComCom group A summary
  • Group A suggested two audiences and two campaigns. The first campaign is during the months before Wikimania -- to get out the message to the general public, to spread the fun and decrease fears. (You can’t *not* talk about your birthday!) The second campaign comes after Wikimania, getting people involved in Wikipedia and sharing their experience. #myfirstedit
Wikimania ComCom group B summary
  • Group B uses the number 15 as an underlying concept, echoing 15 through the campaign. Whether speaking to people around the world who are 15, 30, 45, etc., years of age, or talking about 15 big ideas that can solve problems. What can we do to add something social even for readers?
Notes from Wikimania ComCom group A

2 audiences
general public and fans
fans = heavy readers + give money, might convert to contributors
2 campaigns
phase 1:
beginning (before Wikimania)
know goal - strong messages about WP, this is the onramp
you don’t even know how much you love us
do goal - you can and should be editing
it’s FUN
decrease fear - people are afraid they’ll break the site
phase 2:
hashtag - myfirstedit
Kick off at Wikimania
it’s EASY to contribute
small things/typos
-you don’t have to write a whole article
everyone find a white backdrop and record stories
“what I did”
footage from around the world
2nd - video - something you can put your own voice on the video
collecting stories
research numbers and stats
give media training to smaller chapters - get spokespeople
how to find free stuff for your party
free booze gifs
Why is it important:
15 is a unique opportunity to cause movement with 2 important audiences.
and free booze.
We can’t NOT talk about our birthday
All your friends will wonder, what are you doing for your birthday

Notes from Wikimania ComCom group B

Began with the number 15
people who weren’t alive yet
also half their lives
video profiles of people in 15 year increments
top 15 lists
15 big ideas
how we want to inspire people
15 ideas that can solve problems
How to divide 15 ideas:
avoid being prescriptive, but give them a seed to grow
galvanize people to add a big idea, get invested.
3 types of ideas- (more and more experienced) past/present/future
Divide into 3
15 problems
newcomers who can spot them
15 partners - impressive big partners
museums, univ, orgs
15 projections - vision
looking into the future
thought leadership/aligned
(possibly in clusters)
benefit - everyone has these things and smaller groups can all do them and expand on the same idea
open but with a framework.
notes afterward:
appreciative inquiry - ground your campaign in the positive
could be 3 priorities (instead of problems)
with partners we try to solve the gender gap - challenges can be integrated
a model that everyone can use from every end of the organization
Africa has different problems
celebratory, let’s educate some people
“my first edit”
leave things open to other tactics to feed into the big ideas
building a social and content campaign about just 15
fewer cultural connotations
people love lists - short time
people are also celebrating their birthday this year
“my wiki birthday”
ideas that find ways to let people engage
learning that there is a community to join
finding out about more diversity
social? people come back for the people
talk to admins/leaders - they haven’t edited in a long time
there is nothing social for the reader

Workshop 2 (Wikiwomen)

Wikimania Wikiwomen group summary
  • The Wikiwomen group wants to show the silly and compassionate nature of the community where different people come together. Rather than top-down press conferences, the community could be the ones who share the news with the world first. The values of Wikipedia are powerful.
Notes from Wikimania Wikiwomen group

Have a fun hashtag
Mighty girl, Ice bucket challenge
Our current WP shares are not very lively
Birthday could have more character
The community is very silly and compassionate
Ideas have a lot of power here and different people come together
Knowledge brings people together
Like Firefox - they keep their new things secret
Strategy of having volunteers share the news
Like the Facebook rainbow
You create a new profile photo and use hashtag and share the idea
(Don’t have press conference)
Volunteers come out with the notes first - very exciting to them
Like changing Google doodle
Wikipedia doodle
The sum of all knowledge - but it’s a global collaboration
Everything you learn in marketing is that people only do things if they make money
So powerful - we have a mission
Everyone is sick of marketing and lies
Wikipedia is interested in impact but not in your data
Truth, dedication, altruism
What I love about the puzzle globe-
Marketing makes it seems like lies are something you need
The movement is subtle and has so much impact, like a gentle giant
“Now that I’ve been involved with the movement, I really respect it”
Get the cuteness network involved.
The exercise:
Wikipedia - isn’t that Google, isn’t that the internet?
Start with the happy birthday page - what is the inception/blackhole/rabbithole
A vision of someone going into the trenches
Happy birthday giving > who what where why > what can you give?
How to get everyone to celebrate WP birthday
There’s no separation - it’s all humans - it’s beautiful
Cognitive dissonance - it feels separate because you are “small”
WIKIselfies - with your favorite Wikipedia thing or article
We like to demystify, put faces on things, see people
Create a frame like the Wikimania frame

  1. HBDWP15

Action we encourage people to take

Button - send message to “Wikipedia”
Commons subpage that integrates all comments

Banners on all the projects - lead to a main celebration wiki or page
Organized wikiparties on the same date
How do they attract the general public?

People don’t know chapters/GLAMS, etc exist, even among each other.

Every chapter does something small
Make directions - wiki-how - can have silly directions to make things and celebrate

Who is the target group

This should be the one day that people should just be

For kids - (kids think about “how things are made”) how do we explain all of this very simply - a theme

Look back 15 - look at next 15 years - what will the baby being born now be doing?

Local events - connect with all chapters - WMF newsletter to share the plan - ask the chapters to create global events - give suggestions (doesn’t need to be grandiose).

What is the message? A birthday looking forward. WE WANT TO SEE THE POSITIVE
Faces of the future - future of Wikipedia - letting go of the past and looking forward to tomorrow

Celebrate knowledge today and beyond
Celebrate the knowledge of tomorrow - I can do anything - growing up - being independent

Visualization of data

Discussion 1: general discussion of Wikipedia 15


After a short self-introduction of everyone, conversation started about what we might want to do collaboratively around Wikipedia 15.


Richard Knipel (Wikimedia New York)

  • We’ve been celebrating Jan 15 every year
  • Usually do a mini-unconference/wikimania; 100-200 people; last year at Barnard, before at NYU; lightning talks, open space, etc.
  • Networked series of celebrations -- simulcast (did recently with the Internet Society)
  • 2016 Jan 15 is a Friday. So good possibilities to celebrate.

Itzik (Wikimedia Israel)

  • Can see what leaders and celebrities think about WIkipedia -- their favorite article, etc. (thought leadership campaign, testimonials)
  • Raises awareness -- every local chapter can reach out to their celebs
  • Launch dedicated website to collect

Jove Oliver (Minassian Media)

  • Media pays attention to people more on anniversaries
  • We don’t talk a lot about ourselves (editors, community)
  • Many don’t know WMF is a non-profit

Giselle (Wikimedia Argentina)

  • We do a lot of GLAM outreach
  • Doing a documentary about Wikipedia in Argentina
  • Interviews with active volunteers to hear stories about friendship, role in Wikipedia, how they met, how Wikimedia Argentina was founded
  • Goal is to explain to local press how it all works

Keegan (WMF)

  • Video posted on Wikimedia-l about kids reacting to print Encyclopedias
  • There’s a whole generation of people who have not lived without Wikipedia

Jan Apel (WMDE)

  • It’s all about free knowledge as Lila described in keynote, but people don’t know that
  • It’s not just a website to consume; it’s more than that -- links to all the projects

Richard Symonds (WMUK)

  • Where we’re going to be in 15 more years

Juliet (WMF):

  • What kind of challenges do you have?

Rebecca (Wikimedia Ireland)

  • It’s harder for smaller user groups to get press attention
  • Local press doesn’t pick up on our news much

Richard Symonds (WMUK)

  • Even for WMUK, it’s difficult to get your message out there - still confusion; people don’t know WMF vs. chapters vs. community
  • have had success with local press; in the UK that’s what people read

Johan (in his Swedish volunteer capacity)

  • We need to coordinate our timing, we can’t celebrate twice (as in Jan and May)
  • Swedish journalist will read American newspapers in January and pick it up so we’ll lose our chance if we promote later

Katherine Maher (WMF):

  • At the WMF we’re thinking about it as a “birthyear” rather than a “birthday” and all components of the year would feed into that campaign
  • Example: first 6 months leading up to Wikimania is the birthday
  • Doesn’t mean that you don’t get a press bump, but it gives you an opportunity to talk about it for 6 months


  • First 6 months could be the past; after Wikimania could be the future
  • Gather thought leaders from within and outside the community; start a discussion about where knowledge is going
  • Is there a “wikiway” we could approach that kind of activity?

Andrew Lih

  • Working with Wiki Ed Foundation on making 2016 the year of science
  • Like the idea of trying to have community be that brainchild
  • There could be like themed half-years, e.g. Impact could be something to rally around: what has Wikimedia impact been (first 6 months) and what will its impact be (next 6 months)


  • Need to translate to the press what’s going on in the community
  • 3 pillars for us: free knowledge, that we’ll be here for another 15 years, year of science

Ad (Wikimedia Nederland)

  • Next 15 years: Wikidata has potential to seriously disrupt a lot of processes on Wikipedia and improve it
  • It’s not just for anyone -- it’s all women and men


  • Can do the “world without Wikipedia angle”
  • Katherine/Christoph - not through a negative angle

Heather Walls (WMF):

  • Idea of having fun with Wikipedia, what people do with Wikipedia around the world. The idea is designing a concept that could be used for the birthday campaign. Some short workshops right now.

Mike Peel

  • 10th anniversary of Wikipedia’s millionth edit

First workshops

Everyone is a Wikipedian
  • Where are you in the universe of Wikipedia? There is an infinite timeline that is always growing, enriched with the contribution of people over time and around the world. The power of that decentralization, and the vast living network it creates.
rallying cry- Liberating knowledge
  • The need for knowledge to be free is explosive, kinetic. A recognition that the time of historical privilege and hoarding of power via information has come to an end, and the power it gives to every person is incredible.
Many happy returns
  • This is a play on the phrase -- that highlights both happiness and returning. Both are things that relate to people’s experience with Wikipedia. The sense of awe of the possibilities of Wikipedia, giving and receiving.
Capture the entire world’s experience of wikipedia (fun!)
  • The global south experience of Wikipedia is fun and explorative. What if we could share that enthusiasm around the world. Create a snowball effect of joy about what Wikipedia is to people and the many different ways it can touch a life. Show the fun, intimate, relatable Wikipedia.
Workshop notes

everyone is a wikipedian
editing, reading, starting a wikipedia
where are you in this universe?
all of these interactions are part of the movement
the breadth is both online and offline
an infinite timeline and you can add yourself at any level, person, chapter, country
anything we do that is decentralized has more power
what if you could see it in the universe of everything?
what can i do to participate?
take a moment to reflect
should also celebrate in person
stereotypes are debunked
our values = distributed and localized

the other teams says -
when was the first time you used wikipedia
when did your country create a chapter
the timeline is evocative
nostalgia (don draper)
when things hit wikipedia - most important things
feedback cycle of learning

the idea of revolution
technical revolution
social revolution - a social mission to empower people
rallying cry- liberating knowledge
knowledge belongs to everyone
place the reader in a longer timeline
how we started to organize knowledge and books
tension - people have worked through history
knowledge was siloed and protected
pressure - that knowledge wants to get out
like butterflies
lines of text blast out
people have access now that didn’t before
when it makes contact with their mind it bursts into a rich image (shark!)
call to action = DISCOVER

the other teams says -
i like the idea of something falling into people’s hands
resonating with the individual - change someone’s way of thinking
a role in why we engage with WP
like, knowledge belongs to everyone

value of WP to readers
celebration and birthday
sense of awe
“many happy returns”
returns = giving and getting
coming back again and again
wherever you go you end up back
return key
expansion and growth

how we use WP
global south = more fun!
internet - darpa - public
NOW - world cup, movies - more fun, more exploring
3 levels
high -NDTyson
med - editors
low - readers

capture the entire world’s experience of wikipedia
highly produced global interview
user produced
answer questions
first time you used
articles you read the most
what do you want your parents to read
erase elite way of talking of wikipedia

24hr video, you watch where the sun is - that time, that location
highly sharable
shots and quotes
live on internet but can be everywhere
this is how other cool people use wikipedia
video yourself using wikipedia
in global south - people want to see people they trust
“i thought I needed to be an expert” but a student can, too
shared experience of people around the world - finding something on wikipedia
if no money
set up a website
youtube uploads
answer these 5 questions….
go back to the fun - what is the most fun thing
shared knowledge, shared park - we’ve talked about it before
we don’t talk about the fun and relatable part
hearing about how people use technology pushes you
youtube symphony orchestra